“The Veil and the Lantern” by Erica Gilman

Art by Patrick Driscoll

I look out the window and all I can see is a single lamppost, breaking out of the pitch night. It illuminates the sides of the houses it surrounds and burns with sizzling electricity. Now most of you already know that this is a metaphor, but it is also a life choice; to be a lamppost or part of the veil making up the night.

To be a lamppost is not to be the sun, and for that, it is unbearably difficult and all the more tempting to slip beyond the veil.

But for many, there is no magic. The magic is privilege. Many of our siblings do not even hold a chance. The magic is white, heterosexual, born in a body completely their own, with the materials to build a fortress instead of a tent. The mirror suspended precariously above has been smashed and fallen down around us, causing us to see both the ugly and bloody in front and behind us. Which is to say, the veil is fear.

Darkness envelops many of us, and we must choose to be lampposts. True, being a lamppost can be scary in the unknown of the planet, but if you look up, you can see the twinkle.

Do you see it?

The string of the electricity travels down the street, across town, across the country. Pretty soon the whole globe will be a beacon to whatever is out there: here, we are here, we are family. There are those who risk the attention to illuminate to darkest corners. A whole mass of lights march down streets, stand in their doorways, stand up for their siblings, for their children.

You do not have to be a floodlight to make a difference, a single bulb will light the path. So stand up, plug in, and lift the lantern.

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